It’s the spring of 64 AD, and as dawn breaks over the Subura in Rome, a young woman calls from high in a tenement block to her aunt working in a bar below. While her father collects the rent from the other tenants, a falling tile narrowly misses a senator’s son passing through the streets in a litter. Was it an accident? In the Subura, your life hangs by a thread.

In a few months Rome, heart of an empire, will burn. Like Nero, the residents of the Subura have their own ideas about the cause. Our cast of characters must flee. One travels west, to Arelate in Gaul, then on to Lusitania. Another turns south, through Pompeii, where business opportunities present themselves, before the scene shifts to Carthage and the north coast of Africa. Others, members of a new religious cult, find their way east to Athens and Ephesus, in search of safety. And Nero, now the hunter, will soon himself become the prey...


Much has changed since the storylines of the UK’s existing reading courses were written (between 30 and 50 years ago), both in terms of our understanding of Roman civilisation and in terms of the issues which are important to students and teachers. A new course provides an opportunity to reconsider some priorities, provide a more balanced coverage of women and men, show the diversity of the Roman empire and address other issues which teachers tell us are important to them and their students.


While the course will take a story-based reading approach as its core means of developing reading proficiency, we know that many teachers want to employ a range of teaching and learning strategies. So we also intend to create from the outset, as options for those who wish to use them, activities which develop English into Latin writing skills as well as resources which will seek to promote speaking and listening skills.


We’re developing the software which will provide detailed analyses of the linguistic features and vocabulary which individual students appear to understand, and which they appear to need further help or practice with. The aim is to enable teachers and students to focus more precisely on targeting gaps in individual students’ knowledge and thereby help them make greater progress in the time available.


One of the most important aspects of the new course is that all profits will be used to support Classics teaching in schools. As we will be authoring and publishing the course, we currently estimate that 75% of the cost of the books will go back in to supporting Classics departments. So if your school spends £100 on the books, £75 of that money will go to supporting Classics teaching in schools.

It’s for this reason that we established ourselves as a ‘Community Interest Company’ and ensured that we are required to give our profits back to the community.


Hands Up is a community venture, where teachers work to support each other. If you’d like to help us trial, design, create and/or deliver resources, do feel free to get in touch. You may be an ideas person, be great on linguistic detail, have excellent artistic or photographic skills, write engaging stories (in English or Latin), or have a good knowledge of Roman sites – whatever your particular skill, we’d love to hear from you.


Student textbooks (print)

  • Book 1 (UK edition) - Paperback (ISBN 978-1-912870-01-1)
  • Book 1 (NA edition) - Paperback (ISBN 978-1-912870-02-8)
  • Book 1 (NA edition) - Hardback (ISBN 978-1-912870-03-5)

  • Book 2 (UK edition) - Paperback (ISBN 978-1-912870-04-2) Available Summer 2021
  • Book 2 (NA edition) - Paperback (ISBN 978-1-912870-05-9) Available Summer 2021
  • Book 2 (NA edition) - Hardback (ISBN 978-1-912870-06-6) Available Summer 2021

UK schools: Books 1 and 2 together cover the GCSE language syllabus.
NA schools: Book 1 covers Latin 1; Book 2 covers Latin 2.

Each book contains 16 chapters and contains enough material for one to two years' teaching and learning. Each chapter contains enough material for approximately two to four weeks' teaching, although there is plenty of scope for significant variation of pace, depending on the time available, age of students, etc.

Click for an overview of Book 1 language, culture, history and mythology.
Click for a draft overview of Book 2 language, culture, history and mythology.

Once Books 1 and 2 are complete, work will begin on content for further study.

Student textbooks (online)

Online textbooks ('Activebooks') are provided as part of the website subscription.

  • Book 1 (UK edition) - online Activebook
  • Book 1 (NA edition) - online Activebook

  • Book 2 (UK edition) - online Activebook (Available Summer 2021)
  • Book 2 (NA edition) - online Activebook (Available Summer 2021)

Vocabulary trainer (online)

The Vocabulary trainer is provided as part of the website subscription.

The trainer provides the student with a record of his/her performance on each word set for learning within the chapter-by-chapter vocabulary lists. The software also displays the performance data to the class teacher.

Teacher's notes (online)

Teacher's notes are provided as part of a teacher's website subscription.

Detailed teaching notes for each chapter are provided as downloadable PDFs. The notes give guidance on the aims of each chapter, teaching ideas for the stories, further information for the cultural topics, details on the sources and images used in the book, and ideas for classroom activities.

Ancillary print materials (online)

Ancillary print materials are provided as part of a teacher's website subscription.

Further printable resources, such as comprehensions, additional language notes, and civilisation study sheets, are available in the teacher's resources for each chapter.


Resources created and shared by the community of Suburani teachers are available here, or in the Teacher's Area for each chapter if you are logged in to the website.

Thank you to everyone who is helping other teachers in this way. If you are able to share your resources, please do. Details of how are here.


Individuals and schools can order textbooks and digital accounts by selecting the relevant option below.

If you have any questions please get in touch at sales@hands-up-education.org.




Wherever you are in the world, we can provide free training online (via Skype, Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.). And if you're in the UK, we can come to your school (you'll just need to pay our travel costs). Either way, feel free to contact us at contact@hands-up-education.org to discuss your needs.

Videos of online sessions we have presented on Suburani are available our Events page.


If you have any questions, click here to schedule a chat via Zoom with one of the team.



Teachers may also find the following files useful:

Suburani is a non-profit course designed to help Latin grow in schools. Hundreds of resources created and shared by the community of Suburani teachers are freely available here.

Further print and digital resources, created by the Hands Up team, are available to teachers via a school subscription to the website for just £30/$40 per annum (see Materials).